Western Nebraska Irrigation Project
Occasionally in the design world, we get to do something that may actually help the world world.
We have the distinct honor of working with The Nature Conservancy from time to time on design pieces they have. This has meant that we’ve learned a great deal about The Niobrara Valley Preserve, sandhill cranes, and bison over the years.
And now, we know a little more about irrigation.
Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state. The South Platte River and its watershed are major sources for this irrigation in western Nebraska.
The Nature Conservancy has begun an entirely new program to study irrigation patterns and allow scientists, professors, and ag producers to work together to conserve water. Called the Western Nebraska Irrigation Project, this program partners with farmers in the Western Canal reach of the South Platte River.
The technology involved in this project includes an electroconductivity map, soil moisture probes, and mobile-accessible pivot tracking. The Nature Conservancy is cost-sharing this technology with the farmers, as well as educating them on its use. The technology should pay for itself if not within the first year, for sure by year three.
With hopefully thousands of acres to study this year, WNIP should gain valuable information about where the water goes, how the watershed is affected, and how to improve conservation. In the future, this research could lead the state to incentivize conservation among producers.
Oxide’s small role in this exciting project was to create a logo and identity and support materials.
The look needed to be professional, respectable, and no-nonsense. WNIP needs to speak to ag producers, who look at the bottom line and don’t need a lot of flash, and also to corporate sponsors for the project, who appreciate professionalism.
We came up with all sorts of water- and Nebraska-related ideas, but in the end we focused on the particular process of irrigation used in these rural areas: center-pivot irrigation. This is a method of crop irrigation in which equipment rotates around a central pivot and uses sprinklers to water the crops. Center-pivot irrigation is considered a highly efficient system that helps conserve water, which made it a perfect piece to include in the logo.
After researching these pivot systems, we were particularly drawn to the circular patterns created by these massive watering systems. The final logo takes these shapes and organizes them into the shape of Nebraska.
The logo emphasizes the fact that Nebraska irrigates more acres of farmland than any other state but, with the help of The Nature Conservancy, is also working toward new ways to conserve water in the future.
We have also been helping The Nature Conservancy develop some implementation materials, like this recruitment piece. We wish them all the best, as the project grows!